Lives of 14 Million Yemeni Civilians at Risk as Ongoing Airstrikes On Hodeida Port Cut Off Aid Access

Fairfield, Conn. (August 18, 2015) — Heavy air strikes on Hodeida port on Tuesday will have grave consequences for the already dire humanitarian situation in Yemen, Save the Children warns. Hodeida is the main gateway for commercial trade and humanitarian supplies to the north and center of the country, where 14 million civilians are already in desperate need of assistance.

The large Red Sea port provides the vital infrastructure for the entry of emergency aid cargo including food and medical supplies, as well as commercial goods and fuel. There are already 21 million people – a staggering 80% of the population – in need of assistance in Yemen. The damage to the port, including warehouses and transport equipment, will make it harder for humanitarian agencies who are trying to quickly scale up the response and move much-needed supplies around the country.

Edward Santiago, Save the Children’s Country Director for Yemen, said: “Fighting, critical fuel shortages and restrictions on importing relief supplies have already helped to create one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises in Yemen in the space of just a few months, and the bombing of Hodeida port is the final straw. We need to get supplies into the country, including fuel to keep hospitals running and to get convoys of humanitarian aid to those most in need. The impact of these latest airstrikes will be felt most strongly by innocent children and families.

“We don’t yet know the full extent of the damage at Hodeida but we can’t lose a day; time is running out for Yemen’s children who are already at risk of starvation, disease, and abuse. In addition to the 398 children who have been killed since the conflict began in March, there are currently 5.9 million children going hungry, 624,000 children displaced by the conflict, and 7.3 million not getting the healthcare they desperately need.”

Save the Children calls on all parties to the conflict to protect civilians and to avoid targeting the vital infrastructure needed for humanitarian assistance.

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